I’ve run out of litmus paper at this stage and I guess I have performed enough acid tests! From a shore based perspective, and I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this, bass fishing remains difficult and extremely challenging. This presents a number of interesting perspectives from which we could all take something positive however!
Fish are not running the shores as yet in large numbers but there are some fish out there. Conditions are ideal a lot of the time and even at times perhaps ‘too’ perfect, crystal clear water, bright sunshine, gentle and soft breezes most days. The fact of the matter is it remains extremely challenging and you can take that or leave it of course.
Taking it, accepting it, and still trying to succeed could and probably will make you a better angler; you simply have to be a little better a bit more patient, a bit more careful and tactical to catch fish at this time! A result on a day at the moment is something to be very happy with, something you will earn mind, but especially if like most of us you have only a limited opportunity to fish and the decisions are your own then its a big deal. So numbers might not be great, but there are quality fish in the systems that you can find and catch IF you are prepared to work at it and to fish more effectively with a more focused effort and skill.
Debate as to where the fish are will continue and theories will break on the shore and disperse like the current glut of baitfish but to be honest I’m not aware of any bass that’s prepared to share ‘this is where we are’ information, bass don’t do social media and they’re probably better off too, far safer in fact!
A recent loyal and capable French customer remarked to me in a kind way, “Jim I come to Wexford to fish with you and to catch bass and adventure from the shore, this I cannot do so well in France. If I wanted to catch bass from a boat I hire a French guide to take me, it’s easy to catch bass from a boat”.
There’s a lot going on in that sentence, I realise this and there’s many ways we could interpret it, yes the common denominator seems to be at the moment that bass fishing on offshore reefs is producing fish, but don’t take this as a reflection of anything other than bass have always lived on offshore reefs and dropping plastic on their noses to catch them is a relatively easy task!
Boat fishing is not reflective of the fisheries performance as a whole; it just means there are more fish out of range from the shore angler, which is normal! However what is different is the lower numbers of fish on our shores, and indeed this may not necessarily mean the fish have gone but that they are simply responding to different circumstances – as shore anglers we need to adjust to these circumstance and at the same time feel free to express our concerns, these concerns should be acknowledged and met with considered and rational debate. Its perfectly normal to be concerned it doesn’t however mean you are a prophet of doom, this is especially true when confronted with the face of gross exaggeration and disingenuous marketing.
Autumn is on the way and perhaps those offshore fish will run inshore, who knows, and now that we are hardened and better anglers after a long tough season spent honing our skills we can appreciate that hope and anticipate the possibilities, the spirit of the fish even more.